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In the past few years, virtualization admins have been hailed as heroes for enabling their organizations to significantly slash costs while improving service levels to the lines of business. Since the IT industry is constantly evolving, how can virtualization admins position themselves for success and avoid being rubber ducks in 2016? Below, we will look at 5 skills that should be in your toolkit in order to remain relevant in your organization.

1. Develop a deep understanding of how DevOps fits into your organization

According to Gartner, “By 2016, DevOps will evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers to a mainstream strategy employed by 25 percent of Global 2000 organizations.” Like many people, you might be asking yourself - what exactly does DevOps mean? DevOps is

a shift in process, whereby organizations seek to closely align and to couple the interactions between the Development teams and the Operations teams. As a virtualization admin, you might be tasked with duties on the Operations side such as building, deploying, and supporting the infrastructure needed by the development teams. Or you might be needed to deploy essential services and tools. Having a deep understanding of how your role expands from traditional virtualization tasks and enables this shift in process will be key to your growth.

2. Automate those pesky manual tasks

According to a well respected virtualization admin, if your job in 2016 consists of mostly “right-clicking and deploying”, you are considered an easily replaceable Help Desk Admin. Automating manual tasks such as easily spinning VMs and using a solid orchestration tool, allows you to focus on value generating responsibilities and developing the innovation that is needed to propel your organization forward.

3. Learn how to use the right tools for the task at hand

Virtualization technologies have evolved so much so that the value isn’t in what is running underneath the pipes. Rather the value is how to optimize and efficiently run what’s at the surface level. Your CIO might ask you to deploy a multi-tier solution whereby certain workloads run on one hypervisor and some other workloads run on an alternate hypervisor. Knowing how to manage this infrastructure will give you a leg up in your organization.

4. Ensure that you deploy the right management solution

As mentioned above, many organizations have multi-vendor solutions that allow them to build an infrastructure that meets the specific business requirements. Some of these solutions have their own management framework but there is no interoperability between them. This causes silos and fragmentation. To solve it all, organizations should deploy management solutions that offer a single pane of glass to manage everything from storage, to the networking, and so on. Being able to see all operations within a single management window, regardless of the deployed hypervisor will enable you to again focus on value added tasks.

5. Develop a healthy relationship and connection with the lines of business

IT exists to serve the business demands which can quickly change with the tides of the competition wind. As business evolves so must IT operations. To avoid being surprised by this change, ensure that you have a seat at the table when business conversations are being held. Your participation will show the lines of business that IT is not a cost center rather it is a partner with the business organizations. If you have insights into the business decisions, you can better prepare your IT infrastructure to service these needs. In 2016, plan on becoming a key trusted partner to the business units and show them how IT can deliver the business agility and digital transformation they desire.

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